Nov 11th, 2018, 12:55 PM

Print Is Not Dead

By Sage Theiss Sakata
Image Credit: Sage Theiss Sakata
Editor-in-Chief of The Happy Reader, Seb Emina, rushes to the AUP campus to defend the beauty of print.

After receiving a phone call from Professor Russell Williams, Seb Emina, editor-in-chief of The Happy Reader and deputy editor of Fantastic Man jumped into a cab from Palais Photo and rushed over to AUP. "I thought it was tomorrow," he laughed later in an interview. While Professor William's class was waiting in the Grenelle basement, Mr. Emina was walking around Palais Photo finding inspiration for his next issue. "I was thinking, could any of this stuff speak to philosophy?" he said. 


Seb Emina (left) answers questions in professor Russel Williams' (right) class. Image Credit: Sage Theiss Sakata 

From Paris, Mr. Emina works on The Happy Reader, a publication attracting a vast and loyal following of magazine and literary lovers. Each issue is split into two halves: an in-depth interview and then an in-depth look at a piece of classic literature. The Happy Reader works in collaboration with Penguin Books to make the two worlds of magazine and classic literature collide. Mr. Emina also likes to shake things up. Rather than using the same template for every magazine, The Happy Reader tries to make every issue different from the last. "Themes in magazines bore the hell out of me," said Mr. Emina. Mr. Emina refrains from themes which he said are just "marketing technique." So, if you're looking to pick up the next love or travel issue, don't pick up The Happy Reader. If you happen to know the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius, his series Meditations will be featured in the next issue. 


Inside The Happy Reader. Image Credit: Sage Theiss Sakata

But wait, how does classic literature, in its complexity, work in a magazine? Well, it seems that it compliments it. Mr. Emina explained there is something special that the book adds to the magazine, as books have more than one theme. "Using the book as a center of gravity suggests so much more than a theme might do," said Mr. Emina. Indeed, classic literature contains some of the best ideas ever published. What seems to be impressive is The Happy Reader's ability to take a dusty old book and recharge them with what's happening today. Mr. Emina explained that ideas recur. "Certain human tendencies and patterns of behavior or certain images and ideas are universal and internal," said Mr. Emina.  


Image Credit: Sage Theiss Sakata 

He said, "print is definitely not dead."  Wait, but what about the huge decline in the magazine industry? The picture becomes a little more clear after Mr. Emina explained that there is something special about print. "There is something that print can do that a screen can never do, and that is beauty," said Mr. Emina. Constantly, we are accessing information through phones, laptops, iPads and the list goes on an on. The beauty of a magazine is that we don't have to wait for 3G coverage or something to download. Unlike magazines, screens are never fixed in what they look like. "It never has the aesthetic quality because it has to be responsive to different browsers," said Mr. Emina. Professor Williams also finds himself coming back to print even though he tries to incorporate screens in his own reading habits. "I'm not sure that a screen can't do beauty, but it can do the beauty of disconnection," he said. 

When Mr. Emina doesn't have a copy of The Happy Reader in his hand, he sneaks away to a café in Belleville where he lives and leaves his phone and laptop at home. This is the type of morning he prefers- alone with his thoughts, an espresso and something to read. "It's my own version of mindfulness," said Mr. Emina.